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Utah State Aggies vs. Wisconsin Badgers Odds - Prediction

Utah State Aggies (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs. Wisconsin Badgers (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS)
College Football Week 1
Date/Time: Friday, September 1 at 9pm ET /> Where: Camp Randall
TV: ESPN
by Evergreen, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com

 

Point Spread: Utah St. +27.5/UW -27.5
Over/Under Total: 52

 

We have had a few college football games to get the party started but this week starts the NCAA Football season in earnest. The early portions of each season are typically filled with some lopsided contests on paper but sometimes that does lead to epic upsets. Appalachian State tipping Michigan in Ann Arbor remains one of biggest modern day upsets and the Utah State Aggies will be looking for something similar this Friday when they head to Madison to take on the Wisconsin Badgers. An Aggie win wouldn’t quite rise to that App. St. level but the Badgers are the 10th ranked preseason team so Utah State is definitely playing the role of David in this matchup. Camp Randall is a bear of a place to win as the visitor and the night game atmosphere there rivals any NCAA venue around. They don’t play the game on paper for a reason but this one is scheduled to be a leisurely stroll for the home team.

 

Wisconsin did not get the easy walk they were looking for in 2012 when Utah State came into town. A Gary Andersen led Aggie squad gave the Badgers all they could handle in the opener with UW squeezing out a 16-14 win. That gutsy performance was actually part of reason why Andersen was able to get the Wisconsin head coaching gig just a season later after the departure of Bret Bielema. Matt Wells has been the Aggie head man ever since and I’m sure the story lines would have been limitless if Andersen was still at the Badger helm for this one. His tenure lasted just less than two seasons in Madison before Paul Chryst was brought back to Wisconsin from Pitt.

 

Early season point spreads can be a little crazy and this one has seen a lot of motion with Wisconsin opening up as 33.5 point favorites. That line has cooled to see UW at -27.5 during the week of the game and the over/under total has moved to 52 after opening somewhere around 49. Good for you if you snagged Utah State at +30 or more. You had to bet them early and you should be rewarded for tying up your money that long as I do not think the Badgers are 30+ points better than any FBS team right now. Wisconsin is 4-1 against the spread in their last five September contests and has 11 ATS wins in their last 16 games overall but they will be hard pressed to improve on those marks. Utah State has the other end of the trend with a current 0-4 ATS streak in their last four as the visitor and just three ATS wins in their last seventeen overall. That 27.5 points is probably very close to a number that could happen in so many way but isn’t that what we expect from the online sportsbooks?

 
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The Matt Wells era started so well with nineteen wins in his first two seasons and two bowl victories. A third bowl came after a 6-6 campaign in 2015 but the bottom mostly fell out last year with the Aggies slipping to 3-9 overall and just 1-7 in the Mountain West. There were many games in which Utah State let second half leads slip away so there is some thought that a turnaround can happen right away but there are just eight returning starters from last year, leaving a lot of holes to be plugged. Both the offensive and defensive lines will see new starters and that is not promising for this week given the strength that normally resides in the Badger trenches. David Yost was brought on to be the new offensive coordinator and his promise to open up the passing game has expectations high for senior quarterback Kent Meyers. Meyers has improved in every season and poses a running threat as well as having the arm talent. He threw for ten touchdowns last season and added six on the ground so Wisconsin will have to factor for him at the linebacker level all night. The Aggies might have one of the deepest wide receiver pools in all of football. Ron’quavion Tarver is a big target at 6’3” and 215 pounds but Wells has mentioned openly that the WR depth is something he will look to use against defenses instead of zeroing in on just one playmaker. Wisconsin lost T.J. Watt to the NFL and Jack Cichy to a torn ACL. The Badger defense is already transitioning under new DC Jim Leonhard and perhaps the Aggies can take advantage of some early season inconsistencies.

 

Last year was a pleasant surprise for Wisconsin. They went 10-2 in the regular season and were literally a few plays away from getting the wins against Michigan and Ohio State that would have put them in the Playoffs. A Cotton Bowl win was a nice consolation and there are serious expectations this year as this was supposed to be the season UW was scheduled to make the big push. Fourteen starters return after the loss of Cichy and the standard model of running the ball while playing tough defense is again the plan in Madison. Alex Hornibrook split reps with Bart Houston throughout the season last year but the job is all his this time around and there are some very positive reports from both spring and summer camp. Much of that news talks up his emotional and mental maturity but he will simply need to make more plays than he did last season if Wisconsin is going to cash in their goals of winning the Big Ten and maybe more. There have been changes on the O-Line and at running back but do not expect the Badgers to look any different than how they always look. The running game could go wild Friday night as Utah State is not settled up front in their 3-4 scheme. It will be lights out for the Aggies if a big back like Bradrick Shaw is consistently getting to the second level.

 

There is a little concern with Badger fans that a lack of playmakers will submarine a promising overall roster. WR Jazz Peavy will likely miss the game with a leg injury so the cupboard is even barer for the opener. Troy Fumagalli might be the best option for the Wisconsin passing game, that is if Paul Chryst elects to pass at all. Utah State lost its three top tacklers from 2016 and that defense finished almost dead last in takeaways with just ten turnovers created all year. The plan for the Aggie offense is to go up-tempo and feature efficient gains in the pass game. They also ran for over 2,000 yards as a team so they can be expected to sprinkle that in if Wisconsin puts more DB’s on the field but all of the Aggie production will have to come against a UW defense that has been in the top-10 for the last three years. It hasn’t mattered if Dave Aranda or Justin Wilcox has been the coordinator and it really hasn’t mattered who was in our out of the lineup. The Badgers are a top-tier defense and that shouldn’t automatically change as they return a lot of depth from last season.

 

I think this one will be easier for the Badgers than the 2012 edition was but I really can’t see them putting up enough points to cover a near four touchdown spread. Wisconsin has not been a team that would run up the score on the little guys and they never do it at home. There will be some bumps for both teams as they roll out new faces in new places but that should just about even up as the talent gap likely stays the same as if both returned everyone from last season. Wisconsin is going to run and Utah State is going to struggle to stop them. That almost always leads to a fast clock and often these non-conference games go to half with the Badgers up 21-7 or something like that. Wisconsin tends to squeeze harder in the second half but a play or two in the passing game always slips through as the opposition turns pass-heavy and the final score settles in the 35-10 or 40-17 range. The outcome will never really be in doubt but I think the Aggies and the points are the appropriate play, especially in week one.

 

Evergreen’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Utah State

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NCAA Football Week 5 Betting Previews

Here are some additional game previews from this week's college football card.

Free Picks

Editor's Picks - Each weekend our very own in-house All-American Editor makes his NCAA point spread predictions in an attempt to force fumbles, sack and intercept your bookie!

Expert College Football Picks - Free premium college foots plays against the spread from expert handicappers from around the web from week 1 through the National Championship.

Underdog of the Week Pick - We sort through it all and find out which University is getting "too many points" this week. If there was a Heisman Trophy for picking underdogs, we'd be a frontrunner. Expect a 57%+ winning percentage with these picks as we've got a keen ear for loud barking dogs.

Line Movement - NCAA football lines open early in the week and often times move up or down based on wagering activity, injuries to key players and weather. We decipher whether it's square or wiseguy action and predict the point spread winner based on value.

College Football Consensus Picks - We assess the public perception each week and let them pick the winners for us as we fade their selections which provides us with many trips into our bookies endzone.

Computer Picks - We enter them into the computer and the machine makes it's picks. This is a great guide especially when betting totals! These are available after the first few weeks of the season.

Trends - Despite what you have been told or read on tout sites, the trend ain't your friend. We however turn the tables and fade the almighty trend for what should be some great profits over time.

2017/2018 College Football Predictions - Bob gives his picks to win each major conference. At the end, he gives his prediction on who thinks will win the 2018 National Championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 8th.

2017 Heisman Trophy Predictions - USC QB Sam Darnold is a heavy pre-season favorite to win college football's most coveted award, but Jay isn't buying it. In fact, he's passing up the top (3) favored players in favor of a QB who he's confident will be NCAA football's best player in 2017.

2017-2018 College Football Championship Predictions - NCAA football experts have the Alabama Crimson Tide running away with the National Championship this season and who can blame them? Roll Tide is LOADED! It never happens that easy though. The USC Trojans (+825), Florida St. Seminoles (+850) and Ohio St. Buckckeyes (+875) all have a legit shot. Oddsmakers have Oklahoma (+1300) on the bubble and everybody looking from the outside in at 20/1 or higher. Jay gives his pick to win it all along with how his top 15 rankings for season's end. Get your bets in early before your favorite team's line drops!

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Heisman Trophy Betting Odds - USC QB Sam Darnold starts the season off as a heavy favorite at +350 odds. Sooners QB Baker Mayfield is second on the list at +700 but can he keep his nose clean? Louisville QB Lamar Jackson should dominate this season but will Louisville be taken seriously? Oregon Ducks RB Royce Freeman is worth a pop at 60/1 if he gets the carries. Bama WR Calvin Ridley brings experience and big-time playmaking ability and will be featured on National TV a bunch, giving him a legit darkhorse shot. But will they throw the ball enough with a QB who likes to run? Missing from this year's list of odds is a defensive player.

Odds to Win the 2017 College Football Championship - The Alabama Crimson Tide are heavy favorites to win the National Championship this year at 5/2 followed by Ohio St. at 13/5, USC at 7/1 and FSU at 17/2. Things drop off a bit with the Oklahoma Sooners coming in at 12/1, Auburn Tigers at 14/1 and Michigan Wolverines at 16/1. Check out your favorite school's odds here!

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